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Sometimes, gift cards can feel like a last-minute afterthought. But that doesn't have to be the case, especially when you take the time to find a card that matches the interests of the person receiving it. In fact, buying a gift card ensures the receiver can select something they want or need, rather than you running the risk of an unwanted gift being tucked away in the back of a closet.
Whether you're shopping for a close family member, a colleague at work, or as a thank-you to a neighbor, there's no shortage of gift card options that can be shipped or even sent via email, regardless of budget. Some gift cards give the user a stay in a hotel or a spa visit; others might be for a favorite online retailer or product. Just check the terms and conditions, so there are no surprises.
Here are the best gift cards for everyone on your list.
Etsy Gift Card
We all have that one person in our life. You love them dearly, but they’re impossible to please. It might be a case of them having everything they already need, or their tastes are constantly changing. Either way, Etsy should have something even the pickiest person will love and swoon over. The site sells truly unique goods, vintage decor, and handcrafted items for the closet, home, and more. What’s even better is they'll be supporting independently owned businesses and artists.
Starbucks Gift Card
Most people know someone who absolutely needs caffeine. And that's why a Starbucks gift card is the perfect present for them. And what makes this card really convenient is how the recipient can redeem it. Send the card via email, present a physical card, or allow them to receive a notification via iMessage.
Apple Gift Card
Tech-obsessed recipients will absolutely love a gift card that covers all things Apple. It can be used towards larger purchases like a laptop, desktop, or iPad. But there are also more everyday buys like the App store, iTunes, or Apple TV+.
Hotels.com Gift Card
The person who’s always on the go will appreciate a Hotels.com gift card. Instead of a card for a specific airline or even a hotel chain, this gives them access to thousands of lodging options worldwide. You can add up to $2,000, covering a few nights in even the swankiest of locations. You don’t have to worry about any fees, and your recipient doesn’t have to worry about the card expiring. Send your gift card via mail or email (for those last-minute gifts) and choose from a pre-selected design or upload your own photo.
TaskRabbit Gift Card
Everyone can use a helping hand. That's especially true of those who've moved to a new city or just have a home they're updating. TaskRabbit makes it easy to connect with people in the area who can do everything from hanging curtains and assembling furniture to moving heavy items up a flight of stairs. A gift card to this company is sure to be put to good use.
Tidy Gift Card
Anyone can appreciate a service that makes their lives easier, but a new parent will forever be grateful for such a gift. TIDY is a company that sends background-checked and verified “homekeepers” to spruce up your space. This will immediately take the load off of an exhausted parent who’s juggling other tasks. The homekeepers come bearing baby and safe products to clean any room. The card can be used for specific services or packages that range from cleaning the house for one to four hours.
Amazon Gift Card
Because Amazon essentially sells everything, there's a likelihood your recipient has shopped with the mega-website. So a gift card won't go to waste. Add a dollar amount and select delivery via email or text. What's really cool is you can send a standard design, animated, or even upload your own photo or short video (30 seconds max). This personalized option, especially a video, makes the gift card feel really special and not like an afterthought.
Winc Wine Subscription
All wine lovers know and love Winc. It’s the monthly subscription that sends bottles of vino directly to the recipient's doorstep. So naturally, a gift card is a surefire way to please any wine-o. A card allows the recipient to select their favorite bottle of Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot, or a variety that’s absolutely new to them. Also, you can add up to $700 on a single card. That’s a lot of wine.
ClassPass Gift Card
Regardless of the time of year, getting in shape is usually on most people’s list of things to do. ClassPass offers flexibility for anyone who gets workout fatigue and likes to switch things up or someone who prefers a class environment to free time at the gym. With access to more than 30,000 small studios and gyms, a gift card can truly open up a world of fitness and exercise classes. Choose any amount for a gift card, and the recipient can apply the money toward a monthly membership that offers flexibility and can be canceled anytime.
Z Gallerie Gift Card
Decorating an apartment or house to make it feel like a home can be pretty expensive. Help the new homeowner in your life offset those expenses with a card from Z Gallerie. The store offers everything to outfit a home from top to bottom—literally. Gift cards can go up to $995, or you can email a digital card for up to $500. This will easily help the recipient buy some decorative items or cut down on the cost of that expensive piece of furniture they’ve spotted. One thing to note, the Z Gallerie cards are for in-store use only and sent via postal mail. It takes up to nine business days to receive in the mail, so plan ahead.
Chewy Chewy eGift Card
Between food and toys, pet parents can attest having a fur baby is expensive. One way to make their load a bit easier is with a card from Chewy. There are no expiration dates, and cards range in denomination from $25 to $500. This can be used for a range of products from toys and food to enrichment products to keep the littlest member of the family occupied.
Seamless Gift Card
Nothing can ever substitute a good home-cooked meal, but some nights you just want to relax on the couch and let someone else do all the work, so takeout is the best option. Seamless makes it easy to decide where to order from, giving you all of your options in one place—homebodies across the nation are probably already familiar with the food-ordering service. A gift card can be used for various neighborhood eats, whether the person wants to get the usual or try a new spot. Whether you purchase the physical or digital card, they never expire. Plus, they're easy to use via mobile or on the Seamless app.
Netflix Gift Card
Singles or couples can appreciate a good night of Netflix and chill. With thousands of programs, original films, and shows, Netflix has something to offer everyone, even kids. A gift card balance can be added to an account, making it easy to binge the latest release or rewatch a classic.
Sephora Gift Card
It’s practically impossible to walk into any Sephora and not be tempted by all of the lotions and potions. Sephora is known for its wide array of makeup and skincare brands, but its beauty products include perfume, body products, and hair tools. Pretty much anything you can use on your face or body, they’ve got it. And the one thing about the gift cards is they can be redeemed at JCPenney locations that include Sephora merchandise, too.
Goldbelly Gift Card
Hardcore foodies know and love Goldbelly for the range of food options they have from restaurants across the country. Even if you live in L.A., you can get your hands on Pat's cheesesteaks in Philly. Or some of Chicago's best deep dish pizzas can be delivered to your doorstep. The super fast shipping brings foodie dreams to reality.
Target Gift Card
Clothing, kitchen appliances, home decor. These are just a few of the things Target sells. So a gift card really means your recipient can buy pretty much anything that's on their list of stuff they need or just want. Not only can the cards be sent via email, but also text message.
The Sill Gift Card
A bouquet is a great gift, but what about a live plant? Being a plant parent has become quite trendy, and The Sill is a popular retailer for all plant needs. Gift cards start at $25, and the recipient can apply those funds to a new plant, bouquet, plant accessories, or subscription. New plant parents will find the easy-to-follow instructions practical and intimidation-free.
Uber Gift Card
For the person who needs to catch a ride to work, running errands, or after a night on the town, an Uber gift card is pretty priceless. Just determine the amount you'd like to load on the card and the unique code can be redeemed through the app. This can also be utilized for Uber Eats. For added convenience, you can select to have the card delivered to their inbox immediately or even schedule it for up to a year in advance.
Best Buy Gift Card
Everyone knows that person who’s always up on the latest gadgets and releases or someone who can tinker with anything and get it working again. While it might be difficult to find a specific product they’ll love, a gift card to Best Buy, which sells, well, pretty much everything, is a great option. Whether the person is an Apple or an Android user, or they're seeking a point and shoot or DSLR camera, this gift card covers all of the above and more. You can select the usual e-card that gets emailed to the recipient, or you choose to have a card mailed, which is free for orders over $25.
MasterClass Annual Membership
MasterClass is a one-stop virtual class for pretty much any subject. The online portal has more than 100 classes in design, creative arts, cooking, finance, and so much more. And new classes are added every week. Classes, which average 10 minutes each, are easy to watch (desktop or mobile) and come with a downloadable guide.
Moo Gift Card
Even in a tech-heavy world, nothing can replace a great business card. This is especially true for anyone starting a new company. MOO offers unique business cards that stand out with various shapes, lettering, and foils. The site also has notebooks, stationery, and marketing materials like flyers, posters, and menus. The digital card can be sent directly to you, so you can print it out or email it straight to the recipient. One handy feature is scheduling the date you want the card to be emailed to your recipient, so you can shop ahead of time without ruining the surprise.
What to Look for When Buying Gift Cards
If you're buying a gift card from a major retailer, always buy directly from the store rather than a third-party website, and be wary of small startups or struggling retailers. Cards purchased in-store are usually loaded at the counter when purchasing, and you should always keep the receipt.
Chains That Offer More Options
If you aren't 100 percent sure of what the person you are buying for likes, select gift cards from chains that own multiple brands. Often these gift cards can be used across different stores, offering the user more options.
Card Top-Off Options
Always check the terms and conditions. Most cards will have five years of validity, and many allow you to top up with additional cash or put the outstanding amount towards a cash purchase. Be aware, however, that some retailers charge a fee for reloading a card.
Do gift cards expire?
In the U.S., legally, a gift card must be valid for at least five years. However, always check the terms and conditions, as some retailers charge dormancy fees every month if the card is not used within the first twelve months.
How do you check a gift card balance?
How you check the balance of a gift card will vary depending on the brand or retailer. Generally, you can get a cashier to scan it in-store, or if it was an online purchase, you can log into the website and insert the card code or your log-in details.
Can you buy gift cards with a credit card?
Yes, in most cases. Sometimes you might want to do this to earn rewards or get cash back from the purchase (although this isn't possible in all cases). Some retailers, however, might limit the number of gift cards you can purchase at one time on a credit card, and, occasionally, buying cards in-store may only be possible by cash or debit card payment.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This round-up was written by Patrice J. Williams. She has contributed gift guides to The Spruce since 2020. She loves helping her friends and family find unique, thoughtful, and wallet-friendly presents. In addition to her work for The Spruce, she writes commerce articles, including product suggestions and reviews, for other outlets and appears on-air for "Today" and WE tv. She was the Savvy Shopper reporter for WPIX in New York City. Additional research for this article comes from Gemma Johnstone, a freelance writer and editor with several years of experience covering various lifestyle topics.